Human Development, Poverty and Youth

Poverty and human development have long been core areas of research for the department. Going beyond a narrow conception of per capita income, our approach incorporates health, education, living standards and quality of work – all of which enable productive, creative and autonomous lives.

Our present strength and reputation in this field is due mainly to two research groups: the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and Young Lives

ODID faculty, notably Professor Emerita Frances Stewart, participated in design, methodology and research for the UNDP's flagship Human Development Report from its foundation in 1990. This work has been continued and enlarged by OPHI, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2020. With its innovative Multidimensional Poverty Index, OPHI contributes globally to the conception of the Sustainable Development Goals and also engages with many national governments on data gathering and measurement of poverty to provide evidence for policy.

Building human capabilities necessarily starts with children, and the Young Lives project, initiated in 2001, conducts longitudinal study of childhood poverty following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Carried out in collaboration with country partners, the study covers education, skills, work, health, nutrition, inequality, child protection and gender. This multi-country longitudinal research has now moved from studying children to youth, as their original child cohorts have grown older. Young Lives has also developed a new focus on work, in view of the crisis of youth employment.

In the media
20 Sep, 2018
Half of world’s poor are children, according to new OPHI/UNDP figures
15 Jun, 2018
Young Lives team runners up in 2018 OxTALENT awards for data visualizations
01 Mar, 2018
HDRO and OPHI unify global multidimensional poverty measures to better monitor progress on SDGs
27 Feb, 2018
New article co-authored by Masooda Bano explores family and school effects on religiosity in Pakistan
13 Feb, 2018
Young Lives publish new summative report on children's work
30 Jan, 2018
Young Lives release new data visualizations
23 Jan, 2018
New update of OPHI's global MPI shows 48% of people in Angola are poor
15 Jan, 2018
New book by alumnus Indrajit Roy: Politics of the Poor
09 Jan, 2018
New article by Kate Pincock examines impact of education on Tanzanian girls' sexual agency
03 Jan, 2018
Nepal launches new Multidimensional Poverty Index developed with OPHI


09 Sep, 2016
'Girls’ diverging pathways to marriage'. Read an essay by Gina Crivello on
24 May, 2016
The best books to challenge our assumptions about raising children. Jo Boyden interviewed by Five Books
16 Oct, 2014
'Can stunting be reversed? Yes, and Peru is showing us how'. Andreas Georgiadis writes for the Guardian
10 Jun, 2013
‘To be young and poor: the crisis of development’. Adil Hossain writes for The Guardian